Warren County native Phyllis Alexander recently opened JD’s Seafood Market in downtown Warrenton so that local residents would not have to travel far to enjoy it.
Alexander has held a variety of positions during her career, including work in textiles, nursing and hotels. Then her father suggested that she go into business for herself.
“He said, ‘You want to be your own boss. It will be something you accomplished,’” Alexander said. “You can set your own hours. You can communicate with people. You’ll be good at it.”
She was still a little wary about opening a seafood market, but her father agreed to sponsor her and everything began to fall into place. Alexander found a building to rent, and, in early August, JD’s Seafood Market opened at 141 S. Main St., Warrenton, near the intersection with Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd./SR 1001.
The Seafood market offers a range of seafood depending upon the season and availability: crab legs, shrimp, porgy, white perch, trout, butterSeafood, croaker, flounder, whiting and spot. JD’s also has frog legs and alligator for those who would like a change of pace.
In the past, Alexander had been unsure about whether she would like alligator.
“Who really eats it? What does it taste like?” she said.
Curiosity eventually won out. Alexander tried alligator and found that she loved it. Now, it is in the selection at JD’s.
Operating a seafood market involves long hours. Alexander must unload deliveries from a local supplier some days. On other days, she must be in Raleigh by 7 p.m. to pick up seafood. When seafood arrives, it must be cleaned and prepared for customer orders.
For Alexander, the time and effort is well worth it. She views JD’s as a way to fill a need for local residents who would otherwise have to travel to South Hill, Va., or Henderson to find a seafood market.
Most of her customers are Warren County residents, but people from Franklinton and Zebulon who work in the local area have dropped by to purchase seafood on their way home.
“I appreciate every single customer, visitor and person who stops by,” Alexander said.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way business operates, she especially enjoys having the opportunity to interact with the public. Alexander asks that customers wear face masks inside the market for the safety of others.
Family members, such as her children Saquan Alexander and Cori Hart, help her at the market from time to time. Alexander’s best friends often assist her after they have already completed full days at their places of employment.
As summer turns to fall, JD’s will continue to adjust its seafood selection based on availability. Alexander hopes to bring in black bass, which has been a popular request. Other Seafood may be added depending upon the demand.
When JD’s is better established, Alexander hopes to open more small businesses to address other community needs, such as school uniforms and home health supplies.
For now, she loves having the opportunity to satisfy the public’s craving for seafood, making new friends and talking to people she hasn’t seen in years.
“I love it,” Alexander said.
JD’s Seafood Market, located at 141 S. Main St., Warrenton, is open 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. To place an order, call 252-213-1863.